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BBC Radio 1 won't play original version of Xmas song Fairytale of New York over anti-gay slur

The song contains the word "f*ggot"

2020-11-19

BBC Radio 1 has announced it won't play the original version of classic Christmas song 'Fairytale of New York' because of its offensive language.

The track, by band The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl, was first released as a single in 1987 and his since become a festive season staple.

However, as  it contains the word "f*ggot", as well as misogynistic language, a different version will be played on the broadcaster's youth station this year.

"Our radio stations are choosing the version of the song most relevant for their audience"

BBC Radio 2 will still play the 1987 version, while 6 Music DJs can choose between the two.

A BBC spokesman said: "We know the song is considered a Christmas classic and we will continue to play it this year, with our radio stations choosing the version of the song most relevant for their audience."

"You're a bum, you're a punk, you're an old sl*t on junk"

Lyrics to the song include: "You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy f*ggot" and "You're a bum, you're a punk, you're an old sl*t on junk."

The news has prompted a huge response on Twitter, with both the song's title and #DefundtheBBC trending.

Right-wing commentator Laurence Fox said: "Here we go again. The cultural commissars at the @bbc are telling you what is and isn’t appropriate for your ignorant little ears. Wouldn’t it be nice if we sent the (proper) version to the top of the charts? #DefundTheBBC."

Another Twitter user said: "I'm only OK with Fairytale Of New York being played fully IF we create an equivalent Christmas song with a word which could mysteriously be either a slur or not offensive at all about straight people. What could that be?"

Said another: "My only contribution to the annual Fairytale of New York discussion is this: If you’re taking to Twitter to whine about the fact that you won’t get to hear a homophobic slur in a particular song on a particular radio station, you’re almost certainly a fucking arsehole."

Another added: "Fairytale of New York is a great song. The slur is no longer acceptable. They're playing it without the slur so it can continue to be enjoyed. It's not that deep."

'Fairytale of New York' reached number two on the UK singles charts upon its release, and has revisited the top 20 many times since.

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